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A Year of Opportunity

One year ago, I would never have thought that my life was going to change so much. After completing my Foundation year at ARU College, I started feeling confident again and determined to become what I always wanted to be.

Neuza Dalmeida

One year ago, I would never have thought that my life was going to change so much. After completing my Foundation year at ARU College, I started feeling confident again and determined to become what I always wanted to be.

During my foundation I received all the support from ARU College to help me to create a good background in my area, I learnt about how to develop a good portfolio and how to make my own work to convey its message by itself. I also had the chance to speak with current students.

ARU College made my transition to ARU so much easier. This year I am completing my last stage with ARU College and I could not be more proud.  Thank you ARU College for giving me the opportunity to make my biggest dream come true!

The foundation year was actually my new chance to succeed

One year ago, I found myself a little bit lost about what I really wanted to do. After 5 years working to achieve my biggest dream, I heard that my portfolio was not good enough to get in my course. It created a big question in my head “Should I actually do it? Or is it time to start thinking about different possibilities?” It was really hard for me to accept that “NO” as the first one of my career.

Later on, I was introduced to ARU College as a Foundation Program which was going to help me to get onto my course.

During that year, I found myself through some different experiences, I was working as an independent woman for the first time, I was living by myself and I was actually receiving all the knowledge that I needed to succeed. I had also some different opportunities such as getting to know different places, developing some new professional skills and meeting new people from all over the world. But one that made my year was the chance to represent ARU College in my country and talk with students about my experience.

The truth is, there is always that moment when you want to go home, there is always that time when you ask yourself “where is everyone?” but there are also some better things like learning how to smile back at life, how to grow up but above all, there are those everyday calls from home, those moments when you hear “I am so proud of you, you are my inspiration” from the one you love the most.

“The foundation year was actually my new chance to succeed, my new opportunity to grow up and get ready to start my degree. Everything happens for a reason, and this was my own reason. I do not call it Foundation Year, I call it a Year of Opportunity.”


When I was little, I told my mum that I wanted to be a dolphin trainer. Two years later, I changed my mind and I decided that my route was going into veterinary. Later on, the artistic world started moving me and I decided that I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. Unfortunately, I was the kind of girl who would not survive more than 2 hours in a shopping centre if I was not in the mood to do it.

During my 7th grade, I made a box of shoes in a pinhole camera and I started being the weird girl who was taking pictures just using a box of shoes. From that time on, I have been putting myself behind the lens, that little square which shows me in detail all the perfection and imperfection of the world I was born in. So I decided to be a photographer and show the world from my own perspective but this was considered once again a “fictional dream”, and I listened to everyone saying “Is it a real course? You are so smart, you should be more ambitious”.

It looked like a simple and easy dream until the day I decided to go for it and my life started going that way. I was planning to study in my country and try to save money to be able to support my course and after that I got to know the opportunity that changed my life: coming to study in the UK. In 2016, I left my family, my country and I came here to start my new journey.

Visit Neuza’s Facebook page to see more of her work.

Studying in the UK gave me a completely new perspective of life. I learnt how to manage money, I discovered some new cultures, new people, but above all, I got to know a completely new education system where we learn from practice and professional experience, which is the most important thing in the end. ARU has a range of professional people from all different areas, and I feel that is really important for me as a student. There is another factor as well; that is recognition. As students, we are recognised also as professionals and we are treated like that, so we can learn how to work professionally after graduation.

ARU College and ARU has shown me that our dreams are never too small or too big to become true. They push me every day, so I can improve my progression as a person, a student but most importantly, as a professional. I am not a kid anymore; I am becoming a strong independent woman who knows what she wants to be in life. Now, when I go back home, I see how proud my family is about this big step. I got the best life at 19 years old: I got the opportunity to do what I like the most and live in one of the most international countries where I had the chance to meet so many different people.

So, my advice is this; if you are trying to decide what you want to be or which course is best for you, look at the small details in your life and see what you imagine yourself doing in a few years. The most important thing is for you to do what you really like to do, because in a few years, you will be living your decisions, not the ones who told you that your dream did not fit in your life.

Enrolment Week

It has already been one year and a half since that so highly anticipated week called “the Enrolment week”. What is it all about? Well, I would describe it as the Welcome week. I moved to UK almost two months before this day but it made me feel the same way as if I did not. After saying “Hello” to the city, I was finally being received by my University. Yes, I could call it by that, Anglia Ruskin became, from that day, the place where I intended to spend the next years of my life and also the place where I wanted to be in order to achieve my biggest dream.

If you have just arrived in UK now, you might feel a little bit lost about “What should you do first?” Maybe you just moved to your new house and now you feel like you have lots of things that you need to buy because you really need it or maybe because you just want to decorate your space according to your own personality.

Here you will find the best tips to help you when arriving in Cambridge:

  • If you have just arrived and you have not been to Cambridge before, I would recommend you to go out and discover the city. I know, that it is important for you to organize everything but unless you just arrived on the first day of classes, you will be able to take one day off and go around the city. Trust me, after all the application and the journey to arrive, you will need to relax and Cambridge is one of the most beautiful cities to explore. Just be aware that for the next few years you will be studying in one of the most iconic cities in the entire world. Some people are coming all the way from the other side of the world to visit it and you are the lucky one who is going to live here.
  • Most of the students stay in student accommodation in the first year. If you are not from UK, you will have some issues in understanding some details, as I had the first time. So I will start by explaining what it means if you find these words;
    • Non En-Suite- Bedroom = shared kitchen and bathroom
    • En-Suite- Bedroom = private bathroom and a shared kitchen
    • Studio- Bedroom = private bedroom and a private small kitchenette
    • Furnished = with furniture
    • Unfurnished = without furniture
  • If you just arrived and you are now looking to decorate your room, I would recommend you go to Primark or Wilko. It is 5 minutes walking from Anglia Ruskin’s main campus and you will find everything you need at an affordable price.
  • When it comes to kitchen material, my first option is one of the ones that I referred to before- Wilko. It sells packs of cutlery, crockery etc. It has some good promotions most of the time, which are really good in terms of quality/price/quantity. It also has lots of cleaning products, as well as toiletries (shampoo, deodorant, shower gel and so on)
  • Buying Food- when buying food I would recommend you try to avoid the small shops in the city centre. Asda and Aldi are the cheapest options in terms of groceries and you have lots of options there
  • Eating out- If not made routine, eating out is also a good way to get in touch with your peers. Usually, students do group dinners and when this is made of a community of people from the same country, it tends to be the most typical place or the most similar to traditional food. Usually students have a good discount in most of the restaurants, you just have to read the flyers and the small letters to not make the mistake of going on a day when you cannot use your discount
  • Dress up- The discount that I just referred to in the last point can also be used to buy clothes as well. Most of the stores in the Grand Arcade and Grafton Centre have a good discount for students.
  • Registration and Enrolment Week– Most of the students are really confused about what it means by “enrolling” and what you will need to prepare. During this week you will not have any classes. You just have to book your appointment to come to our offices with your documents and if you have everything with you (as requested in the email from CRIC), then you will be ready to start your course
  • Fresher’s week- This is going to be one of the most memorable weeks of your academic journey. This is the time were you are going to meet the most people and if you wish to, you will have the chance of getting involved in lot of activities! Look around you! Now, the uni is full of wallpapers announcing all the events. Student Union’s Website is also a good place for you to look at the activities from our University.
  • Get involved and enjoy it- It does not matter if you are here for the first time or if you are from Cambridge. One of the best ways to get to know more people is to get involved in as much as you can. You can play your favourite Sport, join one of our Societes or even create your own one.
  • Buy a bike- This is one of the most popular modes of transport here. If you wish to quickly travel around Cambridge I would recommend you to buy one. Do not forget to invest also in a good lock and some lights.

My last tip and best tip is: No tips. The best experience of studying in a new place is all about discovering it and enjoy it as much as you can and make sure that you have the best experience of your life!

Neuza Dalmeida
BA (Hons) Photography (with Foundation Year)


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